Halyard is capable of better now turning three but we'll take the race-fit WELSH ARTIST to come out on top, with Staff Sergeant another to consider. Amanda Perrett's runner has shown a decent level of form thus far and consequently arrives with a rating of 72. This will be his debut over the trip and on the surface but neither are expected to pose a problem, with the step up to a mile likely to bring about more improvement from a horse who stayed on very nicely at the finish last time. He can get the better of Halyard who is another bred to appreciate this surface and one who should be capable of leaving behind his juvenile form. Once more the step up to a mile should help on that front, indeed he may even want further, whilst the yard have a decent record with their runners here. The market will reveal more as to the weight of expectation he carries as it will with the returning Staff Sergeant. Mark Johnston is always to be respected with his runners here and this son of Dubawi should be fine on the surface too. Of course, it's impossible to be certain until the horses prove their liking for conditions and the outcome may boil down to whoever relishes the switch in surface the most, but one of the aforementioned three really should oblige. Anything else would represent a minor upset, with Mark To Market the one most likely to cause it. Jamie Osbourne didn't have the best 2009 and will be keen to get a few winners under his belt and his charge does have the benefit of course experience but he didn't show a great deal and we're happy to leave him out. Widow Bird is an interesting Hughie Morrison debutant - his runners always need a market check here - and she's bred to act under these conditions. Gyrate is another to watch in the market for a potent combination but our preference remains for Welsh Artist.
Countrycraft 66-1 (8-13) Mid-division, ridden halfway, never dangerous, 9th of 12, 12l behind Electioneer (9-3) at Beverley 5f 2yo mdn (4) gf in Jul.
Gyrate Lujain gelding out of Discoed.
Halyard (IRE) 4-1 (9-3) In touch, ridden over 2f out, no impression from over 1f out, eased inside final furlong, 5th of 11, 6l behind Magician's Cape (9-3) at Lingfield 7f 2yo mdn (5) gs in Sep.
Mark To Market (IRE) 16-1 (8-6) In touch, pushed along 2f out, kept on, 5th of 11, 8l behind Don't Call Me (8-11) at Southwell 7f mdn auc stks (5) fbs in Mar.
Staff Sergeant 7-4fav (9-3) Close up on outer, pushed along over 2f out, soon weakened, 7th of 9, 8l behind Khanivorous (9-3) at Kempton 7f 2yo mdn stks (4) pol in Nov.
Three White Socks (IRE) 18-1 (9-3) Mid-division, weakened 3f out, 10th of 12, 26l behind Senate (9-3) at Doncaster 1m 2f 3yo mdn (5) sft in Mar.
Welsh Artist 8-1 (9-2) Tracked leaders, ridden to challenge over 1f out, stayed on strongly, no chance with winner, 2nd of 12, hd behind Mount Juliet (9-0) at Lingfield 7f 3yo hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Mar.
Bravo Blue (IRE) 200-1 (8-7) Tracked leaders, weakened over 2f out, 11th of 13, 29l behind Rashaad (9-3) at Doncaster 7f 2yo mdn (4) gd in Oct.
Widow Bird (IRE) Xaar filly out of Dollar Bird.